“Don’t you get awfully lonesome though?” The question has been asked countless times, and has always been responded to in the same way; you don’t need a relationship to define you in any way.
Some of my friends are in serious, live-in relationships with their partners. Some are in long distance relationships spanning the length of the country. Hell, one is even married with two kids and has yet to reach a quarter century. Me? I’m alone. And, as it stands, I wouldn’t have it another way.
Now, that isn’t to say I’m lonely, or that I’ve filled out my application form to join the local nunnery. I’ve revelled in my independence, and it’s made me do things perhaps I wouldn’t have done had that date from Tinder worked out.
The freedom of single life
In the past five months, I applied for, and was accepted on, a Masters programme in Cardiff. Which is amazing, until you remember I grew up on Ireland’s south east coast. If a guy had been in the picture at the time, I’d have had a lot more heartache when making my final decision to go over. Would a long distance relationship work? Would either of us stay faithful? How often would we have seen each other?
For me, the only hearts my decision broke were that of my parents, who were now convinced I was never returning to Erin’s green shores (despite knowing Wales is only an hour’s plane journey from the homestead. Geography was never their strong point, evidently.) No one else was going to be badly hurt by my upping and leaving the country.
I say it wouldn’t have, but I’m lying to myself. I know for a fact if I had been in a relationship, especially a serious one, when I’d learned about the degree on offer, I might never have applied if the Pope paid me to do it. I would worry about the implications of such a move on my own life. Something I haven’t done with any of my friendships. And I don’t like that. I’m a very independent person, having lived away from home for four years now, but knowing someone I was romantically with could have kept me from pursuing something I had wanted to do since I was 15, I wouldn’t be cool with it.
University and relationships
And anyway, who wants to be in a relationship in college? It works for some, and has worked for many. But there’s always been a “college is for experimenting” mentality. It’s a time to find who works with you, who you should avoid like the plague, and just have the craic for three/four years, while doing a little bit of studying on the side. As well as that, you can have a library boy/girlfriend with no qualms whatsoever, and isn’t that what exams were made for?